WHILE Murrurundi's King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge has been postponed until September 2021, some good news arrived today with organisers welcoming a $250,000 funding announcement for facilities at the Rosedale Complex.
New England MP Barnaby Joyce revealed a list of successful candidates for Round 2 of the federal government's Drought Communities Program funding this morning, with $1 million going to projects in the Upper Hunter.
The largest grant, $250,000, will go towards the demolition of the existing canteen structure at the Murrurundi's Rosedale Complex and the construction of a new canteen, food service and storage area including an all weather covered area at the front.
King of the Ranges president Earl Kelaher welcomed the announcement and said it would be a great addition for the next event which he hopes will run smoothly.
"If Covid-19 allows it, we will run the event over two days in September to make it a bit more cost effective," he said.
"It wasn't an easy thing to do as it's never been postponed or cancelled before. The end of September will give the sponsors time to recover from the drought and the virus and it gives everyone a bit of a breather."
Scone's White Park will also continue to be upgraded, with $210,000 going towards the construction of a campdraft arena. The total project however is expected to cost $414,000 with Upper Hunter Shire Council making up the additional funds.
Additional successful projects include Wingen's Abbotsford Park ($120,000 for a new toilet block and storage shed); Rouchel Tennis Courts ($150,000 for resurfacing and upgrading for multipurpose use); Moonan Flat Hall ($100,000 for the installation of a solar pump and irrigation works to supply water from the Hunter River); Gundy Tennis Courts ($70,000 for resurfacing and upgrading to multipurpose use); and Merriwa Pool ($25,000 for the demolition of existing barbecue facilities and construction of new facilities with a double electric barbecue, seating and shelter).
Jefferson Park at Aberdeen is also set to be further improved with $50,000 going towards the construction of a river walk by developing the existing track that circles its perimeter.
The track will include signage, seating and the stabilisation of problem areas with additional gravel.
Mr Joyce said he hopes these funding announcements show that he is fighting for money for facilities for Upper Hunter residents.
"We want to make the Upper Hunter a better place and show those people on the edges (of the electorate) that New England is not just an electorate about Tamworth and Armidale and Inverell and Scone, it's an electorate about all the towns in between," he said.
"Tourism is also about smaller things such as the Pony Club coming to Murrurundi so we realise that every town has reasons for people to be able to come here and every town wants to be able to show something off so people come and live here."